Seidon Alsaody receives the University's pedagogical award
Seidon Alsaody is the 2021 pedagogical laureate at Uppsala University in the field of mathematics, science and technology. He was notified at the mathematics department's staff meeting by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Coco Norén, who made an unexpected visit.
Congratulations, Seidon! What were you thinking when you received the news from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor?
"Thanks so much! I was surprised, moved and of course really happy. This is extremely honouring and I get humbled when I think of the previous laureates from our department, who are some of my pedagogical role models and mentors."
According to the award statement, Seidon Alsaody has, with the help of fun examples and interactive learning, managed to keep the curiosity alive during an uncertain time. The past year has, as we all well know, been challenging due to the sudden transition to distance teaching.
Do you remember the first thing that came into your mind a year ago when it became clear that we would not be able to have classroom attendance?
"A year ago, I had the opportunity to teach a course that I had already taught in the classroom once. I adapted it to a series of short lecture films with subsequent quizzes and discussions."
Seidon Alsaody had already gained the educational tools before the pandemic. When he taught a course at the University of Alberta in Canada a few years ago, he worked according to an activating model that a colleague at the university had developed.
"These experiences were my contribution to the course Linear Algebra II that Martin Herschend, Julian Külshammer and I worked on to make it more activating. The mathematician Halmos has said that mathematics is a sociable science, and this also applies to teaching."
You are evidently stellar at motivating students. But how do you motivate yourself when things feel difficult?
"Changing the environment is a concrete way to increase motivation. I look forward to when I can once again sit uninhibited in different cafes and work among people and murmur. Otherwise, any form of dialogue with colleagues and students is uplifting. I just received an email from a student who wanted to share the experience that it 'finally clicked' and the solution fell into place after they had struggled for a long time. This kind of feedback motivates both to teach and to tackle the research problems that I myself struggle with."
Seidon Alsaody thus receives this year's pedagogical award at Uppsala University in the field of mathematics, science and technology. The award statement reads:
"With worldly and fun examples and interactive learning, Seidon Alsaody keeps curiosity alive in a period of uncertainty and concern. With the opportunity to collect points during the course, he minimised students' stress and anxiety before the written final exam. With a quiz after each lecture, knowledge was consolidated. Students express that they would have liked to take the course again just to experience such a well-functioning system, interaction and respect they received from Seidon Alsaody."
The pedagogical award is an annual prize that Uppsala University awards to teachers in four fields of science for outstanding contributions in undergraduate education. The pedagogical award winners are nominated by students and colleagues. The final winners are appointed by the Vice-Chancellor, on the basis of a proposal from a evaluation group consisting of eight teachers and eight students. This year, 72 different teachers were nominated. The prize money is SEK 20,000. The prize is awarded at the professor's installation.